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October 30, 2009

Baja Ha Ha


The adventure began as we sailed out of San Diego with the fleet of 190 boats. It was a beautiful sight seeing almost all of the boats under spinaker( big colorful sail for downwind conditions) as they turned south for the border. The last two months in California were a lot of fun, but the real cruising begins now.

The first leg of our trip was not without excitement. The first night at sea was calm as the winds filled in from the north. By Afternoon of day two the story changed. Large swell from the Pacific North moved its way down the Baja, and a little more excitement was about to take place. We listed to weather from the rally boat as they were receiving weather info via satellite phone . Conditions were supposed to increase that night then die rapidly. So with a fish on the hook at dusk we, along with most of the boats in the fleet decided to pull into the nearest protected achorage for the night.

For us the closest anchorage was Cabo Colinet. We would be protected from the wind and would feel a little bit of the swell. Well come day day break, it was clear we should of kept going as the huge winds that were expected never came and the swell moved across the bay with a new found force. Breaking waves showed there strength a little too close to our stern. So up the anchor went and out to sea, far from the rocky shores we sailed.

With full sails up and light air we surfed down the faces of the fast building swells hoping for a little more breeze. Oh and did we get it!

October 28 2nd night at sea

The winds built fast and the direction of the swells started to prove challenging. The auto pilot that steers the boat was now not able to keep our course, and the next 24 hours would be a test of not only our boat, but our family as well. My kids rock! And Daddy is the Hero. The wind now has built to 25 + knots and the seas are quickly rising to well over 25 feet, the boat is loud as she surfs down the front of these huge waves. The waves are big, but they are close together as well making the steering a bit more challenging. Thor is at the helm hand steering as the kids and I lay horizontal for the next 20 plus hours.. 24 hours to be exact Uncle Jesse, our crew for the trip down was also horizontal resting awaiting his watch and a chance to relieve Thor.

Our normal watches are at max 4 hours. He would sleep through 4 watches as Thor stood at the helm hand steering for 16 hours. No margin for error is how Thor put it and he only trusted himself. So for the next 16 hours Thor stood at the helm tired, wet and hungry. It took a lot but I mustered up just enough energy to get him a ham sandwich, his slippers and some chocolate, and a coke to keep him going. It's not so much that I was tired, it's the smells I didn't want to deal with.
The motion of the boat was erratic and the thought of cooking anything was out of the question. Mal de Mer had joined the crew. We had all done so well at this point.

We did not eat, we barely drank, we laid there in the aft cabin snuggled together listening to the sounds of the waves crashing and the hum of the boat as we raced down the waves at 18 knots wishing daddy could be warm and dry next to us.

3 comments:

  1. Oi!! We could have warned you about Cabo Colonet. It's not a sharp corner so the swells just wrap around and blast right through the best anchorage area. Muy espantosa! We spent an ugly night there too, going north the first time. Passed it by the next time :)

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  2. OK... that just doesn't sound fun! I think I would FREAK OUT. Glad you made it there safe and sound. Tristan missed the kids first Biography presentation WITHOUT notes. The kids did great. Miss you guys!

    Love,
    The Pratt Ohana

    PS - James says Tristan is missing out on presidential physical fitness... quite the competetive boys in our class....

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  3. I may be one of the few people who can say, "I know exactly how you feel and know what you went through". Ugh! Glad yo finally get an update and to hear that everyone is safe after the harrowing ride that I remember all too well.

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